Wednesday, 16 January 2008

CNSC President Fired

So I woke up to the news today that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, via his minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, had fired the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Linda Keen. A couple of days ago I ranted about the government's threats to do just this. In a nutshell, the government didn't like that she stood up to them when they wanted to re-open a nuclear facility that hadn't complied with the necessary safety upgrades, specifically they had "failed to install a back up power system that would keep the reactor under control following a natural disaster or a major fire." Because the nuclear facility was in the business of making radioactive isotopes for medical tests and treatment, Ms. Keen was vilified as being instrumental in witholding medical services to waiting patients. Even though alternative sources for these isotopes were available from other countries, albeit more expensively.

So this is the kind of government we have as Canadians: one which can't stand any kind of criticism, even when it comes to keeping the Canadian people (not to mention the entire world) safe from a potential nuclear disaster. A government that has to fire the people who criticize them, even when they are doing the job they were appointed to do as an independent agency, by the government. They even fired her before she could testify, at the request of the government, on the topic of nuclear safety issues. Perhaps the government has also redefined the word "independent" to mean something other than what I think it means?

This action would be similar to that of lodging a complaint against a community doctor because he was reporting on the unusually high instances of cancer in a population of First Nations people who lived downstream from from oil sands extraction plants. Oh wait, that already happened.

All of this sure gives me the pleasant glow of trust and security when I re-read in the letter the Premier of Alberta sent me that any nuclear development in Alberta would first be thoroughly reviewed by: "The CNSC... an independent federal agency that regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials in Canada in order to protect our health, safety, security and the environment." An independent agency.... right. By the time it comes to review the application to build that nuclear facility, a nice Conservative appointee will have filled Linda Keen's place as president of the CNSC. A nice, obedient, yes-man (you can bet it will be a man) who will happily do his master Steven's bidding.

Not sure if I should apologize for the bitter, angry tone or not, I'm just so SO angry about this right now.

You can seen the exchange of correspondence between Linda Keen and the Minister of Natural Resources here - it makes for some really interesting reading, including a reference to the Supreme Court's idea of "independent" which is different from the government's, apparently.


DC said...

You definitely do not need to apologize for the angry tone. It’s very healthy to express your anger in a constructive way. If you feel guilty about being angry and try to pretend you don’t feel that way, that won’t do any good. I used to feel conflicted when I had negative feelings that weren’t in alignment with my deeper values and beliefs. I would spend hours meditating and go into this blissful, sublime state where I felt connected with everything in the universe, and then I would return to the real world and get pissed off that somebody just cut me off in traffic. I thought that there was something wrong with me and that I was regressing in spite of my intense spiritual practice. I later came to understand that it is quite normal for people who are deeply committed to personal growth to experience things like this. Sometimes dark thinking patterns and tendencies that have been locked inside us for a long time need to surface and come to our conscious awareness before they can leave for good. While it's not helpful to hold on negative feelings indefinitely or to feed or draw energy from them, we need to acknowledge them. When we observe them and do not judge them or ourselves, they will eventually go away on their own accord. When we struggle against such feelings and try to repress them, they only grow stronger.

Few things in life can be more exasperating than politics. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool.” Well, all too often it works the other way too, as foolish politicians try to play God. George W. Bush took this to a whole new level when he publicly stated that he believed God personally chose him to be President. Once you’ve convinced yourself that the Big Guy has given His stamp of approval to whatever you want to do, there’s no stopping you. I propose an exchange: We’ll send you Bush and Cheney, and you send us Harper, the Premier of Alberta and a goofy leader of your choice to be named later.

Thanks for your continuing pondering and concern, Theresa.


Theresa said...

Thanks dc. I did direct my anger somewhat constructively later in the day, sending a short email to both Harper and Lunn. I'll follow up with mailing them a hard copy this weekend.

I was reading my latest Pema Chodron book, "The Places that Scare You" last night while at the tea house before going to Tai Chi, and she expressed a very similar point as you are. She said that wisdom is inherent in emotions, and that when we struggle against our emotional energy we reject their wisdom. She went on to talk about anger specifically, saying "Anger without the fixation is none other than clear-seeing wisdom." I think she means that if we can feel the anger without having it become meanness or aggression, the anger allows a person to really see something for what it is, with all the b.s. stripped away. It is certainly an energizing emotion, alright!

Hmm...your NHL-style trade is interesting, but you may need to throw in a couple first round draft picks to even things up a bit! ;)

dabomb said...

Lame-assed politicians. I really don't know what else to say. I wait with eagar anticipation for elections so that we, as a province or country, can voice our opinions through our vote, make a change and start to hopefully move in a positive direction. Then the next group of elected politicians is even worse than the last. Who do you vote for when the mainstream groups are crap and the less mainstream groups don't have a hope to win a seat? Do you throw your vote as a protest vote or try to back the lesser evil?

Theresa said...

I'm voting for the Green party, provincially and federally. The time has come. I just can't vote "strategically" anymore - I have to vote with my head, heart and gut, and all three of them point me to the Green Party.

But the main thing is to vote period, or at least go to the polling station and spoil your ballot. Just don't stay home!